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Pinto Bean, Ancho, and Beef Salad with Pickled Poblanos


serves 4

1 cup red wine vinegar
⅓ cup sugar
1¼ teaspoons table salt, divided
4 ounces poblano chiles, stemmed, seeded, and sliced 1/8 inch thick
1 (1‑pound) skirt steak, trimmed and cut into thirds
2 teaspoons ancho chile powder
¾ teaspoon pepper, divided
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
2 (15‑ounce) cans pinto beans, rinsed
12 ounces jicama, peeled and grated (11/2 cups)
½ cup finely chopped red onion
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves and stems, plus extra for sprinkling
3 tablespoons lime juice (2 limes)
1½ ounces cotija cheese, crumbled (1/3 cup)
½ ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine (optional)


1. Microwave vinegar, sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt in medium bowl until simmering, 3 to 4 minutes. Whisk to dissolve any residual sugar and salt, then stir in poblanos. Let sit, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, pat steak dry with paper towels, then sprinkle with chile powder, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in 12‑inch skillet over ­medium-high heat until just smoking. Add steak and cook until well browned and meat registers 120 to 125 degrees (for medium-rare), about 2 minutes per side. Transfer steak to cutting board, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes.

3. Gently toss beans, jicama, onion, cilantro, lime juice, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and remaining 1 tablespoon oil to combine, then transfer to serving platter. Slice steak thin against grain and arrange over top of salad. Sprinkle with cotija; chocolate, if using; poblanos; and extra ­cilantro. Serve.